Author Amanda Foody has successfully ventured from the YA books to middle grade fantasy with The Accidental Apprentice (Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2021). I’m excited to see there’s already a sequel planned in the Wilderlore series for next year.
Orphan Barclay Thorne is happy to be an apprentice to the village mushroom farmer. But when he is scared off the path into the Woods he meets a Lore Keeper looking for the same mushroom he needs. The girl is trying to bond with a Beast but it goes horribly wrong and Barclay is bonded with a Lufthund. Driven away from home, Barclay’s goal is to break the bond so he can return home. To do so he must journey to the city of the Lore Keepers who think these monsters are their friends and pets. But does he really fit with his rule-laden village?
Read about Amanda and her other books here. Enjoy several interviews with her about this book here and here.
The cover illustration is by Petur Antonsson–see more of his art here.
The first book I read in 2016 was appropriately a Christmas gift. It’s not technically a YA, however, the main character is 17, so I’m putting it in that category for my readers. Uprooted (Del Rey, 2015) by Naomi Novik captured me from the opening sentence: “Our Dragon doesn’t eat the girls he takes, no matter what stories they tell outside our valley.” This time Agnieszka and the whole village know that her best friend Kasia will be chosen since she is so special. And Agnieszka hates the wizard for that future action. It doesn’t matter that he protects them from the Wood. Or that this happens every ten years as payment. But Agnieszka is wrong about what will happen.
The book was hard to put down, and had believably scary monsters. This fantasy will stick with me and I’m hoping the author will write a sequel.
Naomi Novik is the author of another series, the Temeraire novels. I’ll have to check them out. Read more about the author and her books at her site.
What Happened?! No Passengers Beyond This Point (Dial Books for Young Readers, 2011) by Gennifer Choldenko is a fantasy that makes you wonder along with the characters.
It starts out when Finn, his older sister India and his younger sister nicknamed Mouse are sent off to live with their Uncle Red because Mom has lost the house. But instead of getting to Colorado, they end up at this strange place called Falling Bird. They can become citizens, or Finn could work for Sparky, or go on to Uncle Red’s. What should they do? Each has a different opinion.
The story is told in multiple viewpoints. I like what happens with all the characters, but confess that Finn is my favorite.
I’ve been a Gennifer Choldenko fan for years, so knew I was getting something good when I got this book. Check out her other books here.
In The Lost Gate (Tor, 2011) by Orson Scott Card, Danny North doesn’t fit in to his family. Even though he’s a descendent of the gods, he doesn’t have any “godly” talents. Being very smart isn’t enough in the North family. The other kids consider him Drekka (an outsider who is less than them). Danny’s always trying to slip away from his tormentors and one day discovers himself outside the compound. But life outside isn’t going to be easy either.
Enjoy Danny’s journey to finding himself in this very good story. This book might especially appeal to teen boy readers. It’s book one of three in the Mither Mages. I’ll be definitely watching for the others when they come out.
Here’s the wonderful Orson Scott Card’s official website.
I got to read the ARC of Joni Sensel‘s The Timekeeper’s Moon which came out this month from Bloomsbury. It continues the story of Ariel the first Farwalker in countless generations. Is she going crazy or is the moon really talking to her? Should she follow the itch in the soles of her feet? Or is death coming for all no matter what she does?
This novel is the sequel to The Farwalker’s Quest (see my blog entry here)
Check out Joni’s FAQ on her website where she says she gets her ideas “from her sock drawer!”